Tiger WR corps preparing for losses
Until Martavis Bryant makes his decision on whether to enter the NFL draft, Clemson's short-term personnel situation at the wide receiver positions will remain a question mark.
In the long-term, however, the Tigers appear to be well-positioned to carry on in the tradition of DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. Hopkins departed Clemson after his junior season and is now a rookie with the Houston Texans, while Watkins, an All-American and Biletnikoff Award finalist, is nearly certain to enter this year's NFL draft.
If he returns, Bryant will take over the role of featured, big-play receiver in 2014. He improved both his production and his consistency this fall, earning the trust of his coaches and teammates and repeatedly making big catches in clutch situations.
Adam Humphries, whose 557 snaps this season ranked second among the group to Watkins' 590, will continue to serve as a mainstay of the group, while there is the expectation that Charone Peake, who went down with an ACL injury after starting the Tigers' first two games, will pick up where he left off in pursuit of a breakthrough season. A junior after taking his medical redshirt, Peake caught 25 passes as a sophomore, and had eight more in two games before being injured this fall.
The next tier of receivers includes rising sophomores Germone Hopper, Mike Williams and T.J. Green. Williams earned three starts this fall, and showed signs of emerging as the Tigers' next dynamic, big-play threat. Hopper and Green had productive first seasons as well.
Also competing at the position will be Daniel Rodriguez, Wes Forbush and Alex Burdette.
Clemson has three wide receivers committed for its 2014 recruiting class, all of whom will enroll in January and participate in spring practice.
Artavis Scott is ranked as the nation's No. 10 wide receiver prospect by ESPN, while Demarre Kitt is considered the top receiver in Georgia and is ranked No. 8 nationally by Rivals and No. 12 by ESPN.
Kyrin Priester, a 2013 signee who spent the fall at Fork Union Military in Virginia, was ranked as the nation's No. 20 wideout by ESPN.
Clemson is still pursuing another receiver for the 2014 class. The Tigers recently finished as runner-up to Tennessee for highly-rated Josh Malone, and are now concentrating their attention on Trevion Thompson, a former teammate of freshman defensive back Korrin Wiggins at Hillside High in Durham, N.C.
Thompson is playing in the Shrine Bowl this week, but has declined recruiting-related interviews. Clemson remains in his lead group, along with UNC, N.C. State, Ohio State and West Virginia. Thompson is ranked as the nation's No. 2 wide receiver by 247 Sports and No. 4 by Scout.
The Clemson coaching staff is already active on the 2015 recruiting front, having secured a commitment from one of Georgia's top-rated juniors in Shadell Bell of Columbia High in Decatur.
Other 2015 wide receivers with Clemson offers include Akilian Butler of Mesquite, Texas, Ryan Newsome of Aledo, Texas, Jarius Morehead of Whitsett, N.C., Juval Mollette of Randleman, N.C., Carl Tucker of Huntersville, N.C., Devante Peete of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Deon Cain of Tampa, Fla., and Tyron Johnson of New Orleans, La.
Players of interest to Clemson for 2016 include Scott Bracey of Richmond, Va., Bryan Edwards of Conway, S.C., Keith Gavin of Crawfordville, Fla., Sam Bruce of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Donte Mullins of Miami, Fla., and Divine Deablo of Winston-Salem, N.C.
Following is a breakdown of Clemson's scholarship wide receiver personnel for 2014, with 2013 stats for games played, starts and snaps:
Seniors: Martavis Bryant (12, 10, 525), Adam Humphries (12, 9, 557)
Junior: Charone Peake (2, 2, 89)
Sophomores: Germone Hopper (11, 0, 290), Mike Williams (12, 3, 387), T.J. Green (11, 0, 147)
Redshirt Freshmen: None
First-Year Freshmen: Artavis Scott, Demarre Kitt, Kyrin Priester